From young prodigies to forgotten stars: The struggle to maintain relevance

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Jillian Keppy

Harry Styles is one of many artists who has changed their musical genres and styles to reflect their fans’ preferences.

Erika Holmberg, Copy Editor

Earning fame in the music industry is hard, but maintaining that fame is even harder. 

Over the years, music tastes and styles have evolved, forcing artists to continually produce new styles and genres of music that cater to fans rather than personal interest. 

Popular artists have always had to work harder to keep their audience engaged, messing around with new styles and genres to provide current and likable content, but some artists struggle with this while others use it to their advantage. 

Taylor Swift is a prime example of this as her music has ranged from country to pop to alternative folk pop since her rise to fame in 2006. Fortunately for her, these vocal experiments have only heightened her fame as her new album “Red (Taylor’s Version)” has broken numerous records including most streamed album in a day by a female.  

“She has gone through so many musical genres, but the one thing that has remained constant through it all is her incredible songwriting,” expressed PV senior and Swift fan Makena Richards. “I’m glad she is re-recording her older music because it lets the fans see how much she has grown as a writer and musician,” Richards expressed. 

Other artists such as Adele, Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran have renewed their musical styles in order to keep a good fan base as well. Such artists have utilized popular featured artists in their albums to gain even more listeners, such as Swift’s duets with Phoebe Bridgers and Chris Stapleton. 

Despite the use of some of these techniques, some artists cannot adapt to the ever-changing taste that their audience desires. 

Childhood star Miley Cyrus took the world by storm in 2008 when both her acting and singing career took flight. Cyrus was loved for her country-girl innocence and produced countless popular singles including “Party in the USA” andThe Climb,” but her career as of late has seemed to have taken a turn for the worse. 

Like other famous artists, Cyrus began experimenting with more explicit musical content, producing a few notable songs including “Wrecking Ball”, but her new reckless style painted a different picture than her fans had appreciated her for, leaving her record with abysmal ratings and bringing her career to a halt. 

Senior Jack Williams found Cyrus’s scandalous music to be very detrimental to her musical career. “Miley Cyrus got very reckless and went from being a good role model for young kids to a trashy lunatic which could have sent a lot of young people down the wrong path,” Williams expressed.

So why is it that some artists are able to adapt to the times better than others? 

Many artists have a difficult time branching out from their renowned styles despite pushback from their following. Artists oftentimes earn their fame in the first place because they are doing something musically that other artists cannot do. This may be appealing for a period of time, but if the same music is being produced by these artists, the public moves on to the next shiny new artist. 

A previously well known singer might have a better voice than a current pop star, but if they cannot change their music to reflect their fans’ demands, their career falls apart. Listeners love new things, so they will automatically gravitate towards different artists who are playing around more with their songs. 

PV senior Lauren Puthoff admires long-time star Harry Styles for his dedication to keeping his true artistry throughout years of style changes. “Throughout the years [Styles] has changed his style, but he has never changed who he is as a person or the meaning behind his music. I have stuck with him and his music for all these years because he has remained true to himself,” Puthoff stated. 

Despite the difficulties that come with creating new styles of music, some artists have capitalized on the process to create revolutionary genres of music. Teenage phenom Billie Eilish has popularized the electro pop genre, taking advantage of current sound effects and technology while captivating her listeners with her low and wispy voice. 

Popular artists have a high standard for their content, and the responses by their fans determine these artists’ fates. 

Although the growing popularity of new musical genres has kept popular artists on their toes, their resulting music has paved the way for new musical exploration and styles. It is all a matter of which artists make the cut.